Monrovia City Court Dismisses Contempt Charge Against Abraham Keita
Monrovia – Stipendiary Magistrate Kennedy Peabody of the Monrovia City Court at the Temple of Justice Tuesday, May 30, 2017 dismissed the contempt charge levied by the court against child rights advocate Abraham Keita.
Report by Kennedy L. Yangian – [email protected]
Mr. Keita still has to answer to another charge of criminal coercion pending against him before the Monrovia City Court despite the dismissal of the contempt charge.
The Monrovia City Court on May 23, 2017 charged Keita with criminal coercion after Grand Gedeh County District #2 Lawmaker Morias Waylee sued him on grounds of the child rights advocate organizing a protest at the Capitol, where he asked the lawmaker’s colleagues to have him investigated over report that he has allegedly raped a 13-year old girl.
The Grand Gedeh lawmaker has been facing backlash from the public on the allegation since a local daily reported that he allegedly raped a 13-year old girl, an act that is a capital non-bailible offence under the laws. Anyone found guilty is punishable with up to 15-20 years in prison.
However, lawmaker Morias Waylee has denied the claim and has thrown out an open challenge to those accusing him to provide the evidence, claiming that people who are accusing him have no evidence to show.
Mr. Keita was held in contempt by the court after it was reported that he had refused the court order to appear, a claim he denied saying he chose to stay away from the court because of a death threat he received from an anonymous caller on the matter.
The court’s decision Tuesday to drop contempt charge against Keita was based on an appeal made to the court by Keita’s lawyer, Cllr. Tiawon Gongloe, asking the court to pause the contempt charge against his client because he has acted due to lack of knowledge of the law.
“The counsels in this case are aware that upholding the integrity and dignity of the court is the foundation for sustaining democracy and peace and any act of defiance or disobedience could undermine the dignity and integrity of the court,” said Cllr. Gongloe
State lawyer Atty. Alfred Bandiyo interposed no objection to Gongloe’s submission but asked the court to use its wisdom in the case to pave the way for the hearing of the merit of the lawsuit filed by the Grand Gedeh lawmaker.
Prior to his ruling, Magistrate Peabody stated that the defendant deliberately neglected and refused to sign the court order, which was in total disregard to the court, but then somersaulted and told court that he was indeed guilty of contempt.
Magistrate Peabody continued that from his own mouth, the defendant has indicated that he is an advocate of justice by this he should be the one to respect the rule of law.
“It is the ruling of the court, that the court has hereby dropped all charges and forthwith warns the defendant to always remain a law abiding citizen and respect the rule of law, additionally the court has dropped the contempt charge against the backdrop that it is a holy week of ramandan and the Almighty has heard this prayer, hence the contempt charge is dismissed and defendant set free,” said Magistrate Peabody.
Outside of the court Keita told FrontPage Africa the court’s action against him by the lawmaker will not create fear as he has passed valleys as an advocate who started his advocacy in the swamp community of West Point.
He stated that while it is true that the court has dropped the contempt charge against him and which is welcoming, he looks forward to facing the court to answer to the charge of criminal coercion.
“We will be confronting the Liberia National Police, Minister of Gender and even the office of the President on this matter if the need arises, we believe that the prosecution of the alleged perpetrator of rape should not be selective” said Keita who stated that his encounter with the court is something that he will surely remember because this was his first experience.